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Seven Days: Vermont Car Blog

September 24, 2008

Video Test Drive: 2008 Volvo C30

I was interested to see what Volvo had cooked up with the new Volvo C30. They have such a strong brand known for high quality and very safe vehicles, but fun? The C30 has been compared with Volvo’s original sports car the P1800 made famous in the sixties TV series The Saint. Thrilling spy-guy Simon Templar (Roger Moore) was never far from his sporty P1800. Would the C30 serve me as well?

The C30 is considered an upscale small car. It seats 4 and sports a turbocharged straight-5/5-cylinder, 2.5 liter engine. Performance ratings with the short-throw six-speed manual transmission are 227 hp, 0-60 in 6.2 seconds and a top speed of 146 mph. Plenty of power for my jaunt around Shelburne, VT.

The C30 is priced at a level that should encourage first time Volvo drivers to give it a try with an MSRP starting at $23,800. This price puts it in competition with the Volkswagen GTI and possibly the Mini Cooper. These are all fun and enjoyable cars to drive. They start at about the same price and have similar attributes. The Volvo expresses a little more class and neither of the competitors are quite as fast.

Volvo is known for their passion for safety and the C30 continues that tradition. Besides your regular contingent of front, side and side-curtain air bags, it also has seat belt pre-tensioners, a whiplash protection system, a side-impact protection system and an anti-skid system. It's even got anti-submarining protection. I’m glad I looked that one up before taking it in the lake as it turns out to be no more than seats designed to keep you from sliding out of your seat belt ;-)

I left Almartin Volvo and pointed the C30 back to my office to pick up some gear. This was a frustrating choice as I was feeling a need to let this fun little car go fast and traffic on Route 7 had me backed up. I would get my way soon enough on the interstate and on some back roads around Chittenden county.

My favorite driving moment was exiting I89 and pulling some G’s on the off ramp. The seventeen inch alloy wheels and McPherson spring strut front suspension did a fine job of keeping me locked on the road. It didn’t hurt at all that Sublime was cranking on the Dynaudio 650 watt, 10 speaker premium audio system.

Overall the car drove very well. There was plenty of power and the steering was crisp and genuinely felt “sporty”. The car has an upscale personality yet is quite a bit of fun to drive, a nice combination. The interior feels well put together and the “floating” dash-to-console display has a unique and beautiful design.

My Advice
If you’re looking to inject a little fun into your life, at a reasonable price, this could well be the car for you. I would recommend this car to anyone in the market for a fun-to-drive sporty model who also has an appreciation for the finer things in life. The C30 manages to pull both of them together quite nicely.

Is there a car you'd like to know more about? Let me know and I'll schedule a test drive.

Thanks to Almartin Volvo in Shelburne, Vermont for their loan of the Volvo C30 for this test drive.


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